Special Correspondent

AAI authorities requisition services of IAF personnel

CHENNAI: Employees owing allegiance to the Airports Authority of India Employees' Union (AAIEU) here on Wednesday joined a nation-wide strike to protest the privatisation of Mumbai and Delhi airports.

The strike did not have any serious impact on international and domestic flight operations. But the Chennai-Kolkata-Chennai services were hit with the incoming service indefinitely delayed.

According to E.R. Ramesh, convener of the Forum, and L. George, secretary of the AAIEU, the protest began at 10 a.m. with employees taking out a rally on the airport campus from their main office to the KDT. They raised slogans against Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Union Communications and Information Technology Minister Dayanidhi Maran. Chennai airport director S. Subramanian said the strike did not have any impact on the normal flight operations, both international and domestic. The AAI authorities had requisitioned the services of Indian Air Force personnel and the city fire service brigade to tackle any situation arising out of AAI fire service personnel deserting their work spot.

According to R. Vijay Kondath, vice-president of the Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACCAI), not a single cargo consignment was examined and put up for import clearance. He said it was unfortunate that the AAI did not have a "contingency working plan" to tackle the situation.